Gotta go to SoHo Gourmet Cuisines

Gotta go to SoHo Gourmet Cuisines
Hong Kong hankering: Cantonese fried tofu (left); SoHo Gourmet Cuisines owner So Pak Ho.

1. The backstory: You may recognize the SoHo Gourmet Cuisines food cart, but now So Pak Ho, or “Rocky,” as he’s known, is in Fitchburg living his dream of running a small restaurant in addition to the food cart. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Middleton, So enjoyed a childhood centered around the kitchen with family, who often used him as a food tester. “I’m the biggest eater in my whole family,” he laughs.

2. The vibe: So’s uncle ran a small restaurant in Hong Kong for working folks, and in many ways, So is doing that now with SoHo. The eatery is nestled inside a shopping center and is a place for a quick grab-and-go casual dinner.
3. The menu: Simply put, it’s approachable Asian fusion. As So says, it’s Asian-style cooking suited for a Midwest taste. “A lot of my stuff is not going to be absolutely authentic,” he says. “I kind of know where the taste buds are here.”

4. The must-try: The SoHo calamari is a fan favorite, with Hong Kong seasoning and tossed with sautéed garlic, onions and bell peppers. Other shareable plates include the Cantonese fried tofu, fried until golden brown and served with the family’s sweet soy sauce. Definitely order the spicy green beans and sort-of-pan-fried dumpling. For fun, try the mac ‘n’ cheese dumplings.

5. The bottom line: SoHo is a gem in Fitchburg, thanks to an all-American Hong Kong kid. “I want people to walk away full and have a great meal,” says So. “But at the same time I want people to say, ‘I’m glad that it’s here. I’m glad they’ve chosen this spot.'”